US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated this past Friday that the US military was ready to begin processing transgender recruits on January 1st, but withheld comment on whether he backed the move.
Mattis told Pentagon reporters…
“We’ll obey whatever the law says. It’s a court case right now.”
Mattis referenced federal court rulings that President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was unconstitutional.
Mattis further noted that “the Department of Justice is handling it. If they’re not appealing it, we’ll be notified of that” and be prepared to take in transgender recruits as ordered starting Jan. 1.
“I’m not going to get into this right now.”
“I don’t get into singling out and welcoming this group or that group, or that gender or anything else. That’s not my role.”
Mattis declined to say whether he welcomed the lower court rulings and the acceptance of transgender individuals into the military, and barring a last-minute court intervention, transgender soldiers will begin duty in the US military starting this 2018.
In a surprise move in July, Trump sent out a Tweet announcing a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and later followed that up with formal notice to the Pentagon to enforce the ban.
Advocacy groups and transgender personnel currently serving in the military immediately filed a series of federal suits against the ban. Several lower courts ruled in their favor and the Trump administration lost again last week in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The case was likely to go to the Supreme Court but DoD has already said that it will honor the Jan. 1 deadline while the court battles continue.